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New Tech for Classroom Collaboration

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We, at Level 3 Audiovisual have the opportunity to work with some world class educators in various pedagogical disciplines in our pursuit to provide next generation technology solutions for higher education organizations. In 2015, several of these organizations are leading the learning technology evolution and changing the way they approach classroom technology configurations.

“Flipped Classrooms” are breaking away from the traditional teacher centric layout and shifting instruction to a learner-centered model in which class time is dedicated to exploring topics in greater depth and creating meaningful learning opportunities. With the ability to easily capture and stream live instructional content, today’s higher education leaders are depending on delivering much, and sometimes all, of their curriculum online. No longer is it just an option to take an online class, it is built into the everyday coursework and is often preferred by the next generation of college students.

Learning spaces are changing to accommodate the needs by creating a digital collaboration experience that enable teams with technology for presenting, sharing, capturing, and annotating as small teams or as one large group. Instead of a teaching station or lectern at the front of the room with several rows of front facing chairs, you may find several team huddle tables seating between 4-8 people with a shared interactive flat panel display at the end. Each huddle group is able to present and share content at their respective table/flat panel among themselves when working as teams. If the instructor wants to share content from one table to another or all others, just a few clicks of a button is all that is required.

I know that we have been talking about this BYOD thing for a while, but the game has changed again with wireless network based presentation devices and software. These gateways enable instructors, students, guests, and any device connected to the network to present audiovisual information on a shared screen. Laptops, smart phones, tablets, and pc’s can all be wirelessly connected and sharing content simultaneously in a presentation that, when coupled with an interactive touch surface – like a video wall, creates a truly collaborative experience. These systems redefine what it means to “Cut the Cord”.

Speaking of video walls, this is another new area of excitement and growth in higher education. Replacing projectors in large group rooms, digital signage, and interactive touch collaboration systems are just a few of the applications for video wall technology in higher education. Looking at one image is great, but the new norm is multiple sources of content displayed simultaneously with the ability to annotate, re-size, and interact with content with multiple peers. Lower total cost of ownership is driving these technologies into the hands of today’s educators and we will continue to see a major rise in this area.

Video conferencing continues to play a role in distance learning applications, but now the ways of connecting, streaming, recording, and reaching remote interactive audiences has simplified even further. Desktop conferencing and remote learning software allow instructors to provide video collaboration, capture, and instant publishing to online content delivery platforms for later viewing in case you could not make it live. Most modern classrooms are equipped with a dedicated PC that can be used to turn a classroom into a learning studio with global reach.

As you can see, the future of education enhancing technology is bright and continues to enable learners to consume content from anywhere at any time.

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